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Bank Austria’s active dialogue

How a company is perceived by the community in which it operates has a significant influence on its chances on the market. Thus, companies are becoming increasingly interested in what society thinks of them: What is good and what poses problems? The BankAustria-NachhaltigkeitsKreis (BANK) sustainability committee allows Bank Austria to engage in a dialogue with various groups within our society.

(Re)gaining trust
In the current economic situation, banks in particular have a fundamental interest in (re)gaining trust and (re)building their reputations. Listening to the (critical) public and learning from it is an important contribution to sustainability. Engaging in a dialogue with our stakeholders is a high priority at Bank Austria.

Profiting from dialogue
The BankAustria-NachhaltigkeitsKreis (BANK) is a committee made up of prominent experts from civil society, the scientific community and the government. BANK’s aims include:

  • the exchange of ideas between the members and Bank Austria,
  • the further development of the bank’s sustainability strategy and
  • the critical examination of specific projects at Bank Austria.

Bank Austria’s BANK is the only committee of its kind. Fritz Hinterberger, a member of BANK and the president of the renowned Sustainable Europe Research Institute in Vienna, had the following to say, "I am pleased that Bank Austria is actively approaching social groups and seeking out dialogue. It will certainly benefit from this."

Diversity of opinions and...
The members of BANK represent a broad spectrum of knowledge, interests and opinions. Wolfgang Pekny, managing director of the Plattform Footprint and co-founder of the Initiative Zivilgesellschaft (Civil Society Initiative), sees himself as a radical visionary. He believes that financial service providers have to actively contribute to reducing the ecological footprint if they want to be sustainable. It is important to Mr Pekny that banks “keep the books” not only in terms of business but also in terms of the environment.

Helga Kromp-Kolb, a professor at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences and a prominent climate researcher, emphasises the positive role that Bank Austria could play in the fight against climate change: "Banks will have an important function in the ecological paradigm shift. Sustainability and climate change are fields in which banks can distinguish themselves."

...intense discussions   
The first topic of discussion, "Economic Crisis, Banks and Sustainability”, already demonstrated the members’ strong commitment. The focus was on identifying the opportunities presented by the current situation. The goal now is to use BANK’s expertise to develop specific innovations and implement changes.